Half and half? No problem! (Photo: Bryan Baier)

Rocco's Pizza

That elusive slice of home

Half and half? No problem! (Photo: Bryan Baier)
Bryan Baier   - 3 min read

So you've been in Japan for a (long?) while. You've seen many of the things you want to see, done many of the things you want to do, and sampled enough of the delicious local cuisine to satisfy you, and you're dying for a proper taste of home, but where the heck do you get it?

There weren't any burger or pizza joints among the rows of ramen or kaiten-zushi under the train tracks in any of the cities you'd been to, and the pizzas served by the average restaurant or supermarket are either loaded with mayonnaise and other things that should never be put on a pizza or the crust, cheese and sauce are just not up to par. Stop panicking! I have a solution. For that slice of proper New York style pizza thick with cheese, great tasting sauce and the range of toppings pizza was intended to have, look no further than past the north exit of Oji Station on the Keihin-Tohoku Line for Rocco's New York Style Pizza.

I had been dreaming of a slice of New York pizza pie for longer than I could remember when Rocco's first appeared at the end of the block. The-reminiscent-of-Coca-Cola white lettering on a red background Rocco’s sign, the tables draped with red and white checkered table cloths, and the high bar separating the kitchen from the dining area ignited a storm of nostalgia and the smell wafting my way set my taste buds quivering.

Inside, the pizzas available by the slice displayed in a clear plastic case, drinks dispensed by the self-serve Coke fountain next to the register, the chefs and the owner Dan (a New Yorker himself) making pizza doughs the New York way (rolling it out by hand and then spinning and tossing it into the air), and the intensity of that oh so good pizza smell confirmed that I had at last found what I was looking for. The pizza alone was perfect, the buffalo wings available in spicy bbq or original buffalo sauce served with celery sticks and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese dressing and the New York cheesecake (and I do mean real New York style cheesecake) completed my dining experience.

I will be returning to Rocco’s on every trip I make to Tokyo. It’s the best place to get that must have slice of home.

Bryan Baier

Bryan Baier @bryan.baier

13 years of exploring, doing all I can do and sharing that knowledge with the world.